One of the most versatile personalities of the Czech society at the turn of the 16th century certainly is Kryštof Harant of Polžice und Bezdružice.This year, 450 years will have passed from the birth of this diplomat, painter, music composer and, primarily, writer who is most of all famous for his unique books of travels in which he describes foreign lands – attractively and with hyperbole. The Czech National Bank therefore chose namely Kryštof Harant and his work as a motif for the superbly rendered silver two-hundred-crown coin.
The author of the design for the commemorative coin made of pure silver in proof quality is academic painter Vladimír Pavlica. His design was chosen thanks to the original and, most of all, precise depiction of Harant’s portrait on the obverse side, and to the outstanding rendition of historical motifs which are featured on the reverse side. Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice is the second two-hundred-crown coin from this year’s issue of the Czech National Bank following after the March tribute to writer Bohumil Hrabal. Make sure -- on time -- to have a complete collection of these popular mintages!
Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice was born at Klenová. Thanks to his noble birth he obtained a very good education at the court of future emperor, Archduke Ferdinand II of Further Austria. Thanks to his knowledge he accompanied Ferdinand on his travels to Italy and this most probably inspired his future journeys. In 1597 he set on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his brother-in-law, Heřman Černín of Chudenice. The journey led them through Bavaria, Tyrol, Italy, Crete, Cyprus, Tel Aviv, Egypt and, of course, on to Jerusalem. Based on this journey he wrote his most famous book of travels “Pilgramage or journey from the Kingdom of Bohemia to the Holy Land and on to Egypt, by way of Venice and the Sea“.
After returning to Bohemia, he was promoted by d Rudolf II to the aristocratic rank and he held various high posts at the court. After the emperor´s death he visited Spain as the ambassador of the new ruler Matthias, however no book from this journey was preserved. Consequently he settled at the castle Pecka, where he occupied himself primarily with composing music.
In 1618 he participated in the uprising of the estates, later on he got involved in the unsuccessful march on Vienna. After the battle on the White Mountain he was arrested at the castle Pecka by Albrecht von Wallenstein and on 21 June 1621 executed at the Old Town Square in Prague together with 26 other Czech noblemen.
The silver coin denominated 200 CZK - Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice is another attractive piece that is asking for a place of honour in your collection.